Located in the Northeastern part of the United States, New Jersey is situated on the Atlantic coast and experiences a true mid-Atlantic climate. The best time to visit New Jersey is April through November. The springtime is truly pleasant, with sunny days, blue skies, and plenty of colorful flowers emerging. Generally speaking, everything starts to warm up across the state in the springtime. Summer brings the heat and is considered the ideal time to visit the beaches along the shore, and fall is truly spectacular, with plenty of brilliant autumn foliage. Best of all, many warm days are often sprinkled in where you can still head to the beach.
Every year, New Jersey experiences all four seasons, so the state looks different depending on the time of year you visit. In New Jersey, temperatures often drop to below freezing between November and March. During summer, when the mercury can reach 100 degrees F, the tourist attractions are in full swing and you’ll see the most people outdoors, and crowding the shore, amusement parks, restaurants, and outdoor attractions. Not surprisingly, crowds peak between July and August, when it’s prime time to visit the beaches at the Jersey shore.
Aside from the frozen winter months, New Jersey is a great place to visit during most of the year. If you wish to go hiking and enjoy the mountains or nature, springtime is ideal. For anyone who loves a visit to the beaches, summer is by far the best time. The ocean is warm and the breezes are refreshingly cool – but with it brings the tourists. Fall is New Jersey’s best-kept secret, as the weather is lovely, so you can do plenty of outdoor activities – even an occasional beach day!
Summer brings the crowds to New Jersey, and especially to the beaches along the famous Jersey Shore. If you want to book a vacation rental, it’s best to confirm this well in advance; keep in mind that locals choose their summer rental houses or condos in March. If you decide to book a hotel or motel, also be sure to reserve as early as possible. Expect those types of lodging to require a three-night minimum on weekends all summer long.
Before you visit New Jersey, it’s a good idea to consider the state’s unique geographical location. It’s a top local vacation destination for both New York City (to the north) and Philadelphia (to the south). Residents of these two places flock to the Jersey Shore in the warmer months, creating weekend “shore traffic” along the highways (a sure thing during the entire summer). Plan accordingly! Those in the know choose to drive “down the shore” on weekdays or off-hours to avoid the traffic jams.
Tourist Attraction Availability
As expected, most of the Jersey Shore towns close up for the winter, but many businesses do stay open until late October or if a warm spell occurs and draws people back to the beach. Often, some of the shore businesses only open on weekends during the off-season. Generally speaking, it’s best to check in advance if you are heading to the beach or a shore town for something specific.
One major exception to shore town attractions is the town of Cape May, as many of its businesses stay open all year and celebrate winter with parades and events.
Indoor tourist attractions aren't affected much by the season, but be sure to check in advance if you are planning to visit a museum or indoor destination.
The main price fluctuation in the state of New Jersey is the hotel and rental rates along the Jersey shore. They are at their all-time high in July and August and are quite low the rest of the year, especially during the frigid winter months. Depending on which airport you fly into (likely Philadelphia or Newark), you will typically see higher airline rates during the summer, much like the rest of the U.S.
Springtime in New Jersey is quite beautiful, as the flowers start to emerge and eventually come to a full bloom later in the season. If you’re visiting the state during these months, you will see yellow daffodils, multi-hued tulips, pink cherry blossom trees, and many other colorful flowers and blooms. The temperature is usually between 50 to 70 degrees F.
Events to Check Out:
- Garden State Film Festival: Held annually each spring in the town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, this film festival showcases independent movies from around the world, made by novice and experienced filmmakers. In previous years, there have been celebrity appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Glenn Close, Laura Dern, and many others.
- Cape May Strawberry Festival: Every spring, Cape May celebrates the strawberry season in a big way. Featuring farmers, vendors, culinary experts, wineries, and more, the festival invites fans to taste a variety of foods and baked goods made with this sweet and delicate fruit.
Summer tends to be hot and humid on most days, which is why many New Jersey residents head to the beaches if they are able to do so. The Atlantic Ocean warms up considerably in the summer, so you can take a refreshing dip and play in the waves for hours on end. In mid-summer, New Jersey often experiences brutal thunderstorms late in the day – these usually don’t last more than an hour, but often these squalls have torrential pouring rain so you will want to take cover. The temperature in summer ranges from 80 to 100 degrees F.
Events to check out:
- Night in Venice: Held every July in Ocean City, New Jersey, the Night in Venice boat parade features hundreds of decorated sailing vessels large and small decorated beautifully. The homes along the bay are also festive, with many parties and view areas.
- Atlantic City Airshow: Also called "Thunder over the Boardwalk," this annual airshow is one of the largest in the United States. This Atlantic City event is held every August and attracts nearly a million attendees.
Autumn in New Jersey is simply wonderful, with mild temperatures, lots of sunshine, and jaw-dropping fall colors. It’s also the most comfortable time of year, as you don’t need a jacket outside; though, you might need a light sweater or sweatshirt on most days. It’s also an ideal time of year for nature walks and hikes because you don’t need to worry about the unbearable heat of summer or the icy winter cold. Generally speaking, the temperatures in the fall in New Jersey can range from 40 to 65 degrees F with the occasional unexpected spike that makes the weather feel more like summer for a few days.
Events to Check Out:
- Greek Agora Festival: This annual fall event is held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and features an abundance of Greek food specialties. It's a multi-day event that's sponsored by the St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church to celebrate Greek culture with culinary traditions, music, entertainment and more.
- Wheaton Arts Festival of Fine Crafts: Every Fall, Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ hosts an incredible multi-day festival featuring a number of glass-blowing demos, art exhibits, and local artisans. Art enthusiasts come from around the state to experience this annual event.
By late November to early December, winter has arrived in New Jersey. The weather stays very cold and temperatures often drop below freezing from December until early March. During these months, it’s not unusual to get multiple snow and ice storms. It’s not the best weather to be outdoors at all, but if you are, a winter coat, hat, and scarf are necessary. The winter temperature in New Jersey can usually range from 20 to 40 degrees F throughout the season.
Events to Check Out:
- Polar Bear Plunge: Every Jan. 1 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, hundreds of brave participants jump into the icy cold Atlantic Ocean. It's all in good fun and starts the new year off as the usually deserted beach is transformed into a festive celebration.
- Lambertville - New Hope Winter Festival: Enjoy the winter festivities every January in the town of Lambertville, New Jersey (just across the river from New Hope). There's lots of entertainment, shopping, music, food, and fun. You can also taste local wines and beer. There's something for everyone at this family-friendly event.